Nothing has come under fiercer scrutiny in recent months than California's high-speed rail proposal, and Brown went to bat for the project. He used his state of the state address to make the case for California's high-speed rail plan, a $100 billion project that has come under Republican-driven fire for its size, timing and finances.
From the Chronicle's Wyatt Buchanan and Marisa Lagos: "Brown likened the project to massive infrastructure advances of past decades, including the building of the Panama Canal, BART and the interstate highway system - all of which he said were derided in their time - and he called on the Legislature to approve several billion dollars in funding for the first phase of construction "without any hesitation."
"Those who believe that California is in decline will naturally shrink back from such a strenuous undertaking," Brown said in his 20-minute speech to the Legislature and other dignitaries gathered at the Capitol. "I understand that feeling, but I don't share it because I know this state and the spirit of the people who choose to live here."
Brown also urged Californians to approve his plan to raise $7 billion annually through tax increases on sales and the income of the wealthy. One would think the wealthy who would pay new taxes under Brown's proposal wouldn't like being taxed, but at least one would disagree -- billionaire Eli Broad.
From the LAT's David Zahniser: "I do support it,” said Broad, who has a history of writing checks to ballot measure campaigns. “Those of us that are wealthy like myself should pay more. There are so many human needs in education and elsewhere. And I like that fact that it’s temporary, for five years. Hopefully, by then, a lot of other things will change. Brown spoke for about 45 minutes and followed his address with a lively question-and-answer session with audience members. During those exchanges, Brown repeatedly insisted that the state cannot spend money it does not have."
One thing definitely is different about Brown -- it's the first time ever since he's served as governor that he hasn't been running arolund the country during a presidential election year.
From the LAT's George Skelton: "In fact, when Brown was governor the first time (1975-83), he was running for something in every election: twice for president, once for reelection and once for the U.S. Senate. He batted 1-for-4. During Brown II, he'll most likely jump into only one political race, for reelection in 2014."
Down in Fresno, 4,000 municipal workers are set to launch a three-day walkout following months of tense negotiations with the county. The Fresno Bee's Kurtis Alexander tells the tale.
"Union officials declined to comment. But in a letter sent Wednesday evening to County Administrative Officer John Navarrette, SEIU local chapter Director Tom Ab-shere cited "unfair labor practices" as the reason for striking. Last month, union workers were subject to a 9% pay cut or higher, and pleas to reconsider the reduction went unheeded by county managers."
San Diego may not be known for a progressive poilitical climate, but the mayor of that city, Jerry Sanders, is set to lead a national political campaign on behalf of same-sex marriage.
From Tony Perry in the Los Angeles Times: "Last year Sanders, a Republican, joined Gov. Jerry Brown and the mayors of Los Angeles and San Francisco -- all Democrats -- in urging Congress to overturn a law denying recognition of same-sex marriages."The federal government should not be in the business of picking which marriages it likes and which it does not," the four said in a letter to Congress."
A novel proposal crafted by UC students is getting a look from university President Mark Yudof: It would abolish tuition but have students pay 5 percent of their income to UC after they graduate. From the Chronicle's Nanette Asimov.
"Yudof's attention to the no-tuition proposal developed by UC Riverside students is extraordinary because he and the regents have come to depend on hefty annual tuition increases to make up for much of the funds they no longer receive from the state."
"UC receives slightly more than $2 billion from the state's General Fund, about $1 billion less than it had been getting in recent years. Lawmakers cut $750 million from UC's budget this fiscal year alone."